Wednesday, 18 May 2011

How many words are there that mean Greek default?

The Eurozone finance committee, chairman J-C Juncker of Luxemburg, is currently tying itself in knots trying to find phrases to describe the Greek default that do not include the word default. Here are a few:

Reprofiling, soft restructuring - a particular favourite as the EU loves soft centres, or just debt restructuring. It all means one thing. If you are holding Greek bonds you are going to have to wait a long time for your coupon payments and longer for any capital. The manager of a debt fund in the United States joked that the only time he had heard the word "reprofiling" used was in reference to a nose job! Like Pinocchio the Eurocrat's noses just keep getting longer so maybe nasal reprofiling is the answer.

The iron ladies of the EU take a much harder line. Dr Frau Merkel has stated she will oppose any 'reprofiling' of Greek debt saying correctly it would undermine EU credibility to change the rules in the middle of their first Greek bail out. The delicious Christine Lagarde put it more succinctly, 'Restructuring, reprofiling - off the table'. For the benefit of those not au fait with EU doublespeak both phrases mean swapping debt notes due soon for longer dated notes. It could be called putting off the evil day but the EU abhors plain language - the people might then understand what is happening to their money.

Meanwhile across the pond DSK still languishes in gaol on Rikers Island whilst the horse trading starts over who gets his job. As Matt's cartoon says this morning it needs a man with a 'strong moral compass' who knows little of economics. Closer to home Alex Salmond is starting to give his master class on how to extricate your country from a foreign ruling imperial elite. Watch it Farage. You might learn how its done.

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